McGill support employees picket throughout the university

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McGill support staff on strike
WATCH ABOVE: Support workers at McGill University who have been without a contract since April 2015 walked off the job Saturday. On Sunday, the striking workers took to the picket lines with the hopes of being heard. Felicia Parrillo reports – Oct 30, 2016

As Montreal Alouette fans gathered at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium to watch the Als take on the Calgary Stampeders, they were confronted by a different kind of block.

McGill University support workers were picketing outside as part of their five-day strike.

“I think it’s really important that McGill starts to take us seriously and take seriously the fact that casual and support employees are what makes this university function and we deserve to be respected,” said student worker, Lucie Lastinger.

Talks between the school and the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), broke down on Friday.

READ MORE: McGill University casual support staff kick off 5-day strike

The union’s president said the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on the work-study program.

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“Students who have financial need, as determined by the university, don’t have access to all the positions, because not all of the positions have to be posted,” said Claire Michela. “That means the students with financial need are having trouble finding jobs at McGill University.”

In addition, the union said they’re asking the school for a $15 minimum hourly wage, and have yet to hear back from McGill.

“Honestly, we are doing so much hard work … doing really hard labour, while they’re just paying $10.85 and after cutting everything [taxes] — it’s $9,” said student employee, Waleed Usman. “How exactly are we gonna live from that?”

READ MORE: Quebecers march for $15 minimum wage

Meanwhile, the university told Global News in a statement that the question of wages has yet to be dealt with. McGill says both the union and the university agreed monetary questions would be dealt with later on.

While the university will host multiple events such as homecoming, open house and a convocation, McGill hopes the strike won’t have much of an effect.

In the statement, a spokesperson for McGill said, “The university has put some contingency plans in place to limit as much as possible the effects of the strike on university operations and the activities planned this weekend and in the coming days. We hope visitors to our campus and students will still have a positive and enjoyable experience.”

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AMUSE said they’ll be picketing at different times and locations throughout McGill’s campuses until Wednesday.

Despite the picketing, they do plan to be back at the negotiating table with the university on Nov. 10.

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